Former UE player and assistant Kareem Richardson has accepted his first head coaching offer and will take over at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he previously served as the Kangaroos’ top assistant coach during the 2007-2008 season.
Richardson, a 1997 UE graduate, is currently a Louisville assistant under Rick Pitino for a Cardinals team that won the Big East championship and earned the NCAA tournament’s overall No. 1 seed.
UMKC announced that that the 38-year-old Richardson will be introduced Monday in a hiring that’s been rumored for about a week.
The Kangaroos went 8-24 this season before the university fired sixth-year coach Matt Brown. UMKC will play next season in the Western Athletic Conference as it transitions from the Summit League.
“We’re excited for Kareem,” said Pitino, who will see his 22nd former assistant become a head coach. “He spent two years there, so he’s quite familiar with (UMKC). He knows the problems he’s going to have to overcome because he’s familiar with it. That’s an advantage with any person. We’re excited for him. He’s been a great addition to our staff. We look forward to him having a very bright future.”
A 16-year coaching veteran in the college ranks, Richardson served on UE’s staff from 2003-2007 before his first stint at UMKC following season. He’s since worked at Drake and Xavier before the season at Louisville — never as a head coach until now.
“Being at the University of Louisville and working under future Hall of Famer Coach Pitino, it had to take a special situation for me to leave,” Richardson said in a statement. “But I know the vision that (UMKC chancellor) Leo Morton and (athletic director) Tim Hall have for the program makes UMKC a special situation.”
Richardson was a two-time selection to the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-academic teams and, in 1996, made the league’s all-underrated squad. He was also team captain for the Aces, then coached by Jim Crews.
The Tacoma, Wash., native transferred to UE from East Carolina in 1995, where he played in an NCAA tournament as a freshman and quickly emerged as a top point guard for the Aces. Richardson re-visited the tournament twice as an assistant at Indiana State, again during his year at Xavier and now with Louisville, which opens play Thursday.
UMKC has never made an NCAA tournament appearance since moving to Division I in 1987.
“I would like to welcome Kareem back to Kansas City,” stated Hall, the athletic director. “He has strong relationships with high school and AAU coaches here and throughout the Midwest. He brings a high basketball pedigree in the areas of recruiting, on-the-floor coaching, strategy and preparation, and service to young men. Kareem is an educator, and knows what it takes to be successful in the mid-major ranks.”
After Richardson graduated from UE in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and interpersonal communication, he received an MBA from the University of Indianapolis in 1999. Richardson and his wife, Greta, have three children: Jasmiyn, Amari and Andre.